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    slides slides Presentation Transcript

    • Mobile Games Business Anssi Vanhanen 3.5.2007
    • Expectations on Business Potential
    • Expectations
      • ” Gambling could be the killer application that will help make third-generation cell phone licenses pay off. Promoters of mobile gaming think it will attract a new breed of gambler, including a younger, more upwardly mobile crowd.” (Schenker 2001)
    • Expectations
      • The average revenue generated by gaming per mobile user in the US is starting to increase, from $2.00 in 2000 to an estimated $2.50 in 2004. (Computer magazine)
    • Expectations
      • Global Gaming Revenue:
      • 2003: $1,100M
      • 2008: $8,400M, CAGR 50% (ARC)
      • 2008: $4,200, CAGR 31% (Screen Digest)
    • Expectations
      • ITU: by mid-year 2005, total worldwide subscribers totaled 1.5 billion.
      • Nokia: the worldwide subscriber base would grow to 2.0 billion by 2007.
      • IGDA: total subscriber base not as relevant as the installed subscriber base with data enabled handsets.
    • The Outcome
    • The Outcome
      • This year (2006) the mobile gaming market will languish at around 800 million Euros.
      • With 60% - plus growth rates predicted in the mobile games market in the coming years, the problem is perhaps we are counting the wrong thing.
      • (Frost & Sullivan 2006)
    • The Outcome
      • in the UK only about 3.8% of mobile users who play games on their handsets have actually downloaded one
        • Germany: 2,1%
        • US: 2,5 %
      • (Frost & Sullivan 2006)
    • The Outcome
    • The Outcome
      • mobile gaming markets are growing extremely slowly in revenue term
      • In contrary to expectations, women are playing mobile games longer and harder than men
        • Even afted such relevations, it still remains unclear how to translate gaming into commercial success.
      • - Perhaps operators and publishers need to accept that mobile gaming is destined to remain a niche activity. (Frost & Sullivan 2006)
    • Mobile Gaming Market
      • The logic behind some of the boldest forecasts may be based on the number of handsets and comparing it to the number of game consoles.
        • However, mobile phones and game consoles are bought for different purposes.
    • Mobile Gaming Market
      • Recent Market Trends:
        • traditional video game publishers jumping in
        • increased availability of games
        • quality of games is enhancing
        • network capability improving
        • a solid growth projection
    • Mobile Gaming Market
      • Who are the players?
        • more than 60% are between ages 18-26 and single
        • Women are in fact playing mobile games longer and harder than men and have been steering the mobile game market.
        • more than 70% are sharing mobile gameplay on their phones with friends
        • most people who download games learn about them through “word-of-mouth”
    • Mobile Gaming Market
        • When are they playing?
        • 60% play games once a day or more
        • 30% play games more than 3 times per day
        • more than 70% play for longer than ten minutes at a time
        • The common assumption that mobile gamers are either core gamers playing console-like ports or a mass market consumer bored in their “downtime”, does not hold.
    • Mobile Gaming Market
      • How to reach consumers and make them purchase?
        • A lot of money and effort invested in mass-media advertising such as TV
          • Probably based on traditional market segmentation to target certain demographics, for example the majority of players, 18-26 year-olds singles
    • Traditional Market Segmentation
      • 1. Market Segmentation: identify segmentation variables, segment the market and develop profiles of resulting segments
      • 2. Market Targeting: evaluate the attractiveness of each segment and select the target segment(s)
      • 3. Product Positioning: identify possible positioning concepts for each target segment (4P) and select, develop, and communicate the chosen positioning concept
      • (Mattsson 2006)
    • Mobile Gaming Market
      • Could there be a more effective and efficient channel to reach and convince consumers?
    • Strategic Market Segmentation
      • 1. Valued Customer: Who to serve?
      • 2. Value Proposition: What to offer?
      • 3. Value Network: How to deliver?
        • (Mattsson 2006)
    • Case: Finnish Snowboarder
      • Active skiers living in Helsinki Metropolitan Area often tend to travel further to fulfill their needs
        • The travel will take at least a couple of hours
      • Many of them use public transportation
      • During the trip, the skiers are bored and inactive and may be seeking something to amuse them during the trip
    • Case: Finnish Snowboarder
      • In this context, they could be persuaded to try and invest into a mobile game that sounds interesting to them
        • Word-of-mouth from one of the travelers could convince some of the others to purchase a mobile game over the air, but chances are that there is no one in the group that would persuade the others to do so.
    • Case: Finnish Snowboarder
      • Ads of popular mobile games, for example ones downsized from PC or console versions that have a strong brand and a promising foothold in the demographic group of snowboarders, could attract the travelers attention.
      • Targeting and serving customers in the context where they have the need to play games, the time to contribute to playing and the opportunity to purchase the game over the air could be very effective.
    • Case: Finnish Snowboarder
      • Serving selected niches in the context of potential use and purchase, could be a lucrative method to gain customer mass and eventually reach critical mass after which positive network externalities will have a beneficial impact upon demand.
      • Reaching and serving potential customers in the context of use could be more effective and efficient than making huge investments in mass-media advertising that does address the needs of specific customer groups in the context of use
    • Need to Reach Critical Mass
      • Effects of reaching critical mass:
      • First, in the case of multiplayer games the value of a subscription (player) to the network (community of players) would be higher when the network has more subscribers. Reaching the critical mass in over the air multiplayer gaming would allow substantial growth.
      • Second, word-of-mouth in the case of single (and also multi) player games could create a noteworthy snowball-effect and eventually lessen the need for expensive mass-media advertising.
    • Technology
    • Connection and Its Challenges
      • Multiplayer functionality for mobile games can be achieved, for example, through infrared, bluetooth, GPRS, 3G or WiFi connections.
      • Infrared: the connectivity is not good enough for multiplayer gaming because its line of connectivity should not be disturbed.
    • Connection and Its Challenges
      • Bluetooth: the possibilities for multiplayer gaming are quite limited since the users have to be within a relatively short distance (approximately 10 meters) from each other. Also the number of players is limited and most mobile phones support just one peer-to-peer connection at a time.
    • Connection and Its Challenges
      • GPRS:
      • A common connection among GSM mobile phones and can be used to share the data globally.
      • Developers can connect a mass number of mobile games with a single server and share data among the players.
      • Some developers have achieved cross platform games, allowing a mobile player to play against a PC.
      • GPRS best supports turn based games and small RPG games.
      • Most of the countries have a weak GPRS speed in their carriers.
    • Connection and Its Challenges
      • 3G and WiFi:
      • 3G and WiFi have a high speed which allows new possiblities for multiplayer gaming.
      • WiFi connectivity can only be used for an intra-networked multiplayer game
    • Software and Its Challenges
      • - Most common platforms and technologies for developing mobile games are:
      • Windows Mobile, Palm OS, Symbian OS, Macromedia's Flash Lite, DoCoMo's DoJa, Sun's J2ME (recently rebranded Java ME), Qualcomm's BREW, WIPI and Infusio's ExEn
      • - Java ME seems to be the most popular choice, but its performance limitations have led to the adoption of various native binary formats for more sophisticated games
    • Software and Its Challenges
      • Mobile Java application concepts are simple: they inherit a class and override some basic functions, but there is a performance penalty and lack of some Java features.
      • Native OS games do not have that performance limitation. In contrast to Java, Symbian OS applications are complex, inherit a large number of classes, override some basic functions in all of them, and their correct configuration must be ensured, but their advantage is that they have an improved performance
    • Software and Its Challenges
      • BREW: a proprietary wireless application development platform. Its main advantage is that the application developers can easily port their applications between all the Qualcomm ASICs.
      • BREW applications must be digitally signed. Because they give complete control over the handset hardware, only content providers or authenticated BREW developers have the tools necessary to create a digital signature
      • As of March 2006, the least expensive digital signature for testing costs 400 USD and is limited to 100 application submissions. This steep cost of entry excludes hobbyists from developing for phones that use BREW.
    • Software and Its Challenges
      • Java ME versus BREW: The time and cost to market favors Java ME over BREW, because of BREW’s rigorous certification requirements. On the other hand, higher entry barriers may create an advantage for established software developers who have more resources and do not have to compete with self-published hobbyists.
    • Software and Its Challenges
      • Managing the deployment of games on mobile phones can be really complex.
      • Developers have to create multiple versions of the applications, even if they write it in Java.
      • Java ME has became a popular option for creating games for cell phones, as they could be emulated on a PC during the development stage.
      • To maximize return, an application must support many, many different models of handsets, yet the expense and effort to adapt and test hundreds of versions can be daunting.
      • The researcher is stating that the developers of J2ME had to make a lot of compromises in its standardization and therefore left too much freedom in terms of implementation to the end-terminal manufacturers.
    • End-terminals and their Challenges
      • End-terminals are constrained in terms of memory, battery and energy consumption, screen size and resolution.
      • From the aspect of mobile game development, limited screen size and resolution leads to less robust graphics and fewer pixels. End-terminals are also limited in network bandwidth which requires the use of fewer textures and sounds. Phone buttons often limited to single key presses so the user is not able to control content by pressing several keys simultaneously.
    • End-terminals and their Challenges
      • Moore's Law: the empirical observation made in 1965 that the number of transistors on an integrated circuit for minimum component cost doubles every 24 (or 18) months.
      • The researcher suggests that if Moore’s law holds in hand-held devices, the strategy of writing software to address the needs of future instead of current devices may work in the hand-held market.
      • On the other hand, the implications of Moore’s Law depends on whether the device manufacturers decide to cram even more functionality and chips into the devices, further increase their processing power or just make the devices smaller.
    • Business Models
    • Business Models
      • Mobile game industry is closely related to mobile telecommunications content business and computer and video console publishing business.
      • Four operational phases: content creation, content aggregation, content marketing and content distribution
    • Business Models: Over The Air (OTA)
      • OTA includes downloadable, browser-based and messaging-based games
      • The value chain consists of content creators, content aggregators, content marketers, content distributors and consumers as in the case of traditional console and PC game value network
      • The researcher suggests that OTA business model enables larger circulation, but on the other hand, the protracted value chain with the significant power of carriers and game publishers leads to limited margins to game developers.
    • OTA Value Chain
      • In OTA mobile game business, the most important players in the value chain are game developers, porting services, game publishers, handset manufacturers, carriers and some independent channels (e.g. online portals)
      • The protracted value chain dictates the cash flow and thus developers should expect no royalties until six or seven months after the first game is sold.
    • OTA Value Chain: Game Developers
      • The creators and producers of the initial game concept to the final playable game.
      • It is not sufficient just to develop great games, but also make sure that the games can be run on a variety of mobile phones.
      • This complexity is multiplied by the number of supported dominant software platforms which results in that the number of individual game builds may be large.
    • OTA Value Chain: Porting Services
      • Many developers are not prepared to create these individual builds for the hundreds of devices available.
      • Depending on the complexity of the game, the porting process usually exceeds the initial development costs.
    • OTA Value Chain : Game Publishers/Aggregators:
      • Publishers plan a slate of titles based on IP they either own, create or plan to acquire and then match that IP to in-house or 3rd party talent to create a game.
      • Publishers want their games as on many devices as possible in order to realize the full sales potential of any given title, but also due to the fact that carriers will favor games that support the widest selection of handsets.
    • OTA Value Chain: Handset Manufacturer
      • The mobile industry equivalent of game console manufacturers.
      • Handset manufacturers play an important part in setting market direction of the technology that enables games and may in some markets play the role of distribution partner to publishers and studios.
    • OTA Value Chain: Carriers
      • The equivalent of retail outlets in the traditional video game space.
      • Carriers wield significantly more power in the mobile gaming space than retailers do in the traditional game business because they have a monopoly over their very large customer base.
      • Carriers have the widest influence over the user experience in the value chain.
      • Today there is no meaningful alternative method of distribution.
      • Carriers are the gate-keepers to customers, and the established publishers are gate-keepers to the carriers.
    • OTA Value Chain: Independent Channels
      • This category contains all web, WAP, SMS sales channels and online portals (by device manufacturers or publishers) not owned by the carriers.
      • Device manufacturers have to make sure that content is available for all their handset models to make them attractive to end-users, and ensure content is available even when a model has just a small market, or limited penetration such as at launch
      • Devices sold through non-operator channels are often set-up to drive users to the device maker’s portals (eg., Club Nokia) for content.
      • However, their traffic is very limited in comparison to the official carrier channels.
      • Everyone in the value chain, except carriers, eagerly waits for the day when non-carrier channels become viable for mobile content.
    • OTA Value Chain: Mobile Gambling
      • With the recent internet gambling boom various companies are taking advantage of the mobile market to attract customers
      • The market is still at a nascent stage at the moment due to the uncertain nature of most countries' in-decision towards regulation of online gambling
      • The researcher states that gambling on mobile phones seems like a sustaining innovation to online gambling companies, but can be a significant extension to their business models.
    • Business Models: Mobile Gambling
      • Advantages of using the mobile phone as a platform for gambling application, including anywhere/anytime availability, are tempered by market constraints, such as regulation, social acceptability and getting robust user controls in place.
      • The Asia Pacific region is expected to take $8.8bn (pound 4.62bn) in revenue by 2011. (Juniper)
      • Europe will follow closely, taking $7.9bn (pound 4.15bn), while others fall behind. (Juniper)
    • Business Models: Mobile Content In-game Advertising
      • In-game advertising and product placement integrates branding directly into the gaming environment.
      • Can be an effective marketing tool.
      • In-game advertising mainly focuses on the pushed banner-like ads
    • Interactive Marketing in Location-Based Gaming Environment
      • The advantages of mobile devices allow highly targeted, flexible, and dynamic wireless advertisings
      • Location-aware technologies such as Cell Identification and GPS (Global Positioning System) have inspired to develop location-based games.
      • Wireless gaming offers opportunities for local or customized ads and the ability to pinpoint the target market audience by placing the brand within a relavant game.
      • The location-based games may also drive people to stores in progress of the game.
      • This form of marketing is private, flexible and context-aware.
    • Subscription Model
      • Subscription model is the alternative to paying a flat fee
      • The researcher is suggesting that generally speaking, from the game developer’s point of view, subscription is a billing model, not a business model, unless game developers are selling the game as a service directly to consumers as in the case of some online role-playing games on PC.
      • In-game per play/time/level payment business model model can be categorized as selling software as a service.
        • The business model could attract game developers’ interest since there would be direct billing through mobile payment systems, and no payment through carriers.
    • Business Models: Developer and User-generated Content
      • Users pay for game items
      • The researcher suggests that hand-helds could be another channel to existing PC RPG games, but taking into account the current limitations of hand-helds, this is not going to happen soon.
        • However, RPG specifically developed for mobile multiplaying in which users are paying for in-game content could be a working business model even today.
    • About Business Models in General
      • Examining all the current and potential business models above, one can see that most of them are more or less familiar from the PC space.
      • As last but not least, the researcher suggests trying to downsize any concept that has worked or even failed in the PC or console space to mobile phones and hoping that it will fly.
    • About Value Chains in General
      • To drive usage, the features of mobile gaming products have to be clearly advertised and marketed to a wide audience.
      • Because of the nature of the product, there is no single medium that provides a complete solution to vendors' promotional needs.
      • One of the strengths of mobile gaming is that its marketing campaigns can be integrated with other campaigns, in particular for film and console games.
      • Television can be used to show gameplay in great detail.
      • Frost & Sullivan (2003): Interactive TV and the Web are excellent media for offering a variety of games and demonstrations. Even so, the lack of animation in print media, the high costs of television advertising and limited penetration of interactive television could prove to be dampeners.
    • About Value Chains in General
      • One major problem for developers and publishers of mobile games is describing a game in such detail that it gives the customer enough information to make a purchasing decision.
      • Two strategies are followed by developers and publishers to combat this lack of purchasing information:
        • there is a reliance on powerful brands and licenses that impart a suggestion of quality to the game such as Tomb Raider or Colin McRae
        • there is the use of well known and established play patterns (game play mechanics that are instantly recognizable) such as Tetris, Space Invaders or Poker.
        • Both these strategies are used to decrease the perceived level of risk that the customer feels when choosing a game to download from the carrier’s deck
    • About Value Chains in General
      • Some reasons why operators are the preferred direct channel for around 80 percent of mobile games is that they have trusted brands, subscriber information and control the 'handset window interface' and the delivery channel to end users.
      • Operators stand to gain revenues when games are downloaded through a portal and also when games or any other content is ordered through other channel.
    • Retail Value Chain
      • Mobile games can be distributed, advertised and sold through retailers in a similar way as PC or console games.
        • eg. Nokia’s N-Gage games use also retail as a distribution channel
      • The researcher suggests that with the advent of 3G and other fast network technologies, the need for retail may have decreased, although customers may still prefer to buy something concrete.
      • PC game developers often prefer to use game publishers that take care of marketing and distribution
      • The researcher suggests that as most mobile game developers have even less resources than PC game developers, the effort of doing one’s own marketing and distribution to a global market may be overwhelming for game developers.
    • Other Value Chains
      • SMS games: operators charge users a fee according to sent messages. The game developer can get from 20 to 50 percent of revenue.
      • Browser games: operators charge users based on amount of used the air-time or data-transfer. The revenue shared with the developer of the game can vary greatly. In North America developers get about 10 percent, while in Japan they get up to 90 percent.
    • Financial Forecasts
      • The problem is that although consumers are increasingly playing mobile games, they are not at all keen on buying them. Even though mobile games have been around for more than a decade, they have yet to succeed in generating significant profits for the region’s mobile operators. (Frost & Sullivan 2006)
      • In 2006, the global market for mobile gambling alone was forecasted to grow from $1.35bn in 2006 to $16.6bn in five years' time. Mobile gambling often forms the majority of forecasted mobile gaming revenues.
      • Forecasts of mobile gaming have changed recently due to strenghtened legal barriers in the US.
    • Financial Forecasts
      • Another indication of the expected continued growth of mobile games is the venture capital funding being received by proven players as well as new start-ups.
        • In 2004, several players got funded for about $20M.
        • Acquisitions were of the same size.
    • Thank you!
      • Questions?